I am (Deadly) Serious.

 

Shaved ice!

Best to cure heartburn, stomach acid, nausea,

… and pancreatic attacks.

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Ever had trouble with your pancreas? A pancreatitis attack? Well, how would one know? You would know because it feels like you are literally going to die from the pain and you invite death. Anything is better than living with the pain you feel as it crushes your middle, right under your ribs all the way around to your back. You find yourself crumpled on the floor with searing heat overtaking your midsection. You can’t straighten up and are curled in a ball, literally stifling screams from the pain you feel.

The pancreas is a little organ or “gland,” inside of your body that resembles the shape of a fish. If your pancreas inflames and decides to start shutting down, all of the nutrients you consume go through you. You begin to rapidly lose weight. Days, weeks, months become a blur. Your blood is slowly and purposefully being redirected from your brain to the other organs in your body. Your organs are in the process of shutting down, leading to your death.

That was the first stage, a clear indicator something was wrong … but I had the gastric bypass surgery (weight loss surgery) a little under five years prior. I thought nothing of a rapid weight loss period as I was told weight loss came in increments over the first five years after surgery. This was all ‘normal,’ as far as I knew. This is what we were taught in class. (Yes, you have to take classes before being approved for the weight loss surgery.) The memory loss? I attributed to fibro fog. Undoubtedly this was related to my cognitive difficulties from fibromyalgia. I was so sure. I was so wrong.

Fast forward to twelve lengthy hospital stays and seven surgeries later … I found out I had a calcium blockage in my pancreas that caused the inflammation which in-turn resulted in an idiopathic (unknown) pancreatitis diagnosis. I also was experiencing a sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. (Meaning the duct that drains bile would not work correctly, creating a calcium deposit by a bile back-up that inflamed the pancreas.) How’s that for a big revelation? Idiopathic pancreatitis took four years out of my life and two years that I cannot remember one single day.

I ordered and reviewed my hospital notes, trying to regain my memory. My husband wouldn’t or couldn’t talk to me about it. Some form of sheer terror would show in his eyes every time I questioned him. All he’d ever say is, “You lived, you survived, that’s enough.”

I searched through the medical records. I had signed two DNRs. I had a living will in the system. Once, my husband was called into the recovery room to attempt to wake me up from the anesthesia because the nurses in recovery could not. I was not expected to live. I underwent six ERCPs (endoscopic surgeries). My skeletal remains of gallbladder were removed. I had numerous stent placements, CT scans, and scopes. I had a drainage tube inserted that stuck out of my stomach for over a year. Some of these notes jogged specific memories, like that damn tube placement in my stomach, but I am not sure of the rest…

The good news is there is an 80% recovery from pancreatitis. The bad news is I am in the 20% group… 

But I am still here! I am still fighting! I am still educating people about idiopathic pancreatitis.

I got this!

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The Valient Blogger

I have received the Valiant Blogger Award! I was nominated by my friend Terri, who blogs on Reclaiming Hope. I am so excited to receive this award and I thank Terri for her friendship and informative and creative blogs. She definitely deserved this award and will be featured in the Hall of Valor. I learn something new every time I read one of her posts, thank you, Terri!

So what is the Valiant Blogger Award? I will use founder of the award, Liz’s own words;

The Valiant Blogger Award is for the blogger who is brave and courageous. It is dedicated to someone who, despite being faced with the most difficult obstacles in life, chooses to fight on and never give up. It is for the lion-hearted, one who faces fears and challenges, who has become an inspiration to others along the way.

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So the rules for receiving the award are:

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Provide a link to the Hall of Valor .
  3. In 200 words or less, share about the greatest challenge in your life and how you got through it.
  4. Give one piece of advice to people who are struggling with something in their life.
  5. Thank the person who nominated you, and nominates a new blogger for the award.

My Story

I have fought fibromyalgia for over twenty years. I am constantly researching and supporting others with this disease through my blog, I tripped over a stone.  I co-wrote a book, The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia. It is an interactive journal for those who are attempting to learn to live their best life with Fibromyalgia. (It is currently on Amazon.)

The greatest challenge that I have faced up to this day is a battle with idiopathic pancreatitis. It began in September of 2012 and continued until my last procedure in July 2013. I was in the hospital eleven times, each stay was quite lengthy. I had seven operations. On two occasions, the surgeon asked me, “to what lengths” did I want him to go to preserve my life? I signed a DNR both times, I was so ill, none of us thought I’d survive the operation. My husband and I said our goodbyes but each time I went into surgery, my husband would give me a kiss and whisper, “Try to wake-up.” And I did, every time.

I have recovered, but will always battle idiopathic pancreatitis attacks. (The attacks come at will as there is no known reason for my type of pancreatitis.) I know what to do when I have them and they can usually be handled at home without hospitalization. But after being so ill for so long I lost my ability to think constructively, with purpose. I started with adult coloring books, art journals, and tangles; learning patterns and putting them into a picture format. I learned to write in complete sentences by journaling. Finally, in 2016, I began blogging as a means to practice my writing and record what I had been through to reach others. Before I knew it I was involved in co-authoring a book and administrating a support group for fibromyalgia! I fought and I won!

One piece of advice that I have learned and would like to share is learning to grieve. You must allow yourself to grieve the old you, the healthy you that no longer exists. Get to know the new you and find your strengths. You will find them and you will find purpose!

 

Again, I wish to thank Terri at Reclaiming Hope, I am honored to be chosen.

 

My nominee:

I’d like to nominate my friend, Mer, at Knocked Over by A Feather. She epitomizes the brave and courageous fighter who has overcome difficult obstacles in life and chooses to fight on. She has a very successful blog and has helped so many people with all types of conditions of chronic illness and disease. She is truly a valiant blogger!

Sincerely, Kim

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